Return to Headlines

Local Author Sarah Mondello Inspires 7th Graders at Bernotas

Sarah Natale Mondello


Bernotas Middle School welcomed local author Sarah (Natale) Mondello on January 11, 2019 for a presentation called “Book Publishing 101.” Mondello spoke to all 12 seventh grade classes about the stages of bringing a book into the world: from inspiration, writing, and editing to publication and promotion.


“My students came back to the room asking when they could 'just write a story,’” language arts and social studies teacher Peggy Boldwyn said. “I especially appreciate how engaging she was with the kids during the question-and-answer portion."


Mondello, age 22, is a Crystal Lake resident and recent graduate of Drake University. She launched her literary career at age 17 when a short story assignment in her senior creative writing class at Crystal Lake Central High School turned into a short novel. The Kiss of Death is a survival story set during the deadly plague in medieval London, with a hint of romance. Mondello received a literary award and book deal at age 18. Her book is published through Kellan Publishing under the pen name “Sarah Natale.”


Mondello discussed the research that goes into writing historical fiction and encouraged students to start or keep writing. She also explained the different publishing routes available as well as the persistence required by students to successfully publish their writing.


"Sarah did a wonderful job speaking to the 7th grade class at Bernotas," said director of literacy Erin Anderson. "For students to hear how someone so young was able to persevere to make her dream of being a published author come true was a great example of never giving up and believing in yourself."

Mondello will return to District 47 this spring to speak to the entire student body at Lundahl Middle School. To learn more about this local author, visit her website at